Monday, October 29, 2012

Last Night at Contagious

We didn't have Contagious last night thanks to hurricane Sandy.  Winds were at tropical storm level and bands of rain kept us from getting together for our weekly youth gathering. 

We had a masquerade party planned.  So we have postponed the party to this coming Sunday.  Ramon Sanchez, one of our team members, will be teaching Sunday night a lesson that is tied into the masquerade party.  I'm looking forward to the party, we have never done anything like this before.

Now back to riding out the storm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Use Your Vacation Time

One thing I have learned in my years of ministry is this:
If your church gives you vacation time you use it.  Use every day of vacation time.  Now the work-a-holic or the youth minister who things that life in the church will not continue to flow without them there may find it hard to use the time up.

Rest is important to your health, your family, your ministry, your creativity.  Make sure to take that time to rest.  Don't answer work related e-mail or calls.  Avoid any social networking that might draw you back into "work mode".  Go "dark" if you have to.

If your church is not giving you vacation time you need to request at least 2 weeks paid vacation per year.  If your church is in a financial situation where raises aren't possible it would be a nice idea for your church to offer you more vacation days or personal days as a "raise".

This week I'm resting.  I'm on staycation.  Of course when you live in a vacation destination staycations are pretty nice.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Last Night at Contagious

We started the evening off with a fun game called COOKIE FACE!  That's right whenever you say the name of the game you have to yell it.  4 students stood up front and tilted their head back.  A Chips a Hoy Cookie was placed on their forehead.  Using only the muscles in their face they had to maneuver the cookie down their face and into their mouth.  First one to complete the task wins.  If they dropped the cookie they had to start all over.

We then divided up our middle and high school groups for the Bible study time.  Last night we finished up our series on Relationships.  We took a look at Relationship with the Church.  Here are the main points:
Dispel the myth - "church is man's idea"
Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:41-47
Man didn't come up with the church idea.  God did and Jesus builds the church.  The church isn't a building, it's the people.  The church is not an organization it is an organism both alive and growing (or at least should be).

God Places You in the church
 1 Corinthians 12:18;27
In our culture at the beach we have a lot of church hoppers who go to the "exciting" and "happening" church.  We also have many who "double dip".  Try to be part of two different churches.  I don't know about you but I don't want my heart to operate at 50% and that's what happens when we try to be in two churches at once.  We divide our time and commitment and are only half good at two instead of 100% at one.

God's Purpose for You  in the church
Edify - Romans 14:9
Evangelize - Mathew 28:18-20
(That's right.  We taught them the meaning of a couple of big "churchy" words)

God's Priority For You  in the church
Romans 12:5
Youth group is church.

God’s Protection for you in the church
Respect your church leaders
1 Thessalonians 5:12

After the Bible study we had our Podz and they discussed church and their connection to church.

Following PODz we had Hang Time with our usual junk food and games and relaxing on the big sofas.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Dips and Lows

There are times in youth ministry (and probably every ministry) where you feel like you are just stuck in a rut, going through the motions.  

I heard something great on Episode 198 of the Youth Ministry Garage.  The feeling of being in the “rut” is normal.  Don’t feel guilty.  It happens.  I don't think I have ever in 20 years of youth ministry heard anyone say this.

I’m not in the rut right now but I have certainly been there several times.  I think if you are in the same place, doing the same thing for any length of time you experience lows.  Perhaps this is why at, one time, youth ministers moved from church to church every 16 months?  Maybe they hit the “rut” and felt like the magic is over and it’s time to move on to a new church.
Just thinking out loud.

Someone on the show used the word “diluted”.  When your job description is more than just youth ministry, which for most churches you find the youth pastor doing more than just youth ministry.  When passion gets diluted you get bummed.  Plain and simple.  Mainly because when you are divided in many ways you find that you aren’t good at any of them.

I also think churches need to focus on what their ultimate goal for the youth ministry will be.  What’s the purpose of the youth ministry?  Then decide not to tag on lots of other jobs on the new youth pastor’s job description and just let him do youth ministry.  If you need a children’s pastor either hire one or wait till down the road when your church is at the spot where you can hire a children’s pastor.  If you need an “associate pastor”, either hire one or wait till down the road when you are ready to do so.  Get the picture?  Don’t lump a bunch of titles on a youth pastor (or any other ministry position) just to sell the hire and make it legit.  Come up with a long range plan.

I would love to hear the following in an SBC business meeting:
“I know many of you think we need to make this position the youth/senior adult pastor.  Lets us focus on one for now since we can’t afford both. Down the road as the church and ministry grows we can hire the other.”

If your church is in the search process right now please feel free to pass this blog post on to the search committee. ;)

I know that I personally need to focus on my sweet spot in youth ministry.   Do what I love to do and focus on it.  The things that I do that others can do I need to give those things away.

For the short term I think I’ll just get refreshed driving the Jeep on the beach.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Last Night at Contagious

We kicked off the evening with a fun game called "fork over your quarters".  Students had to roll quarters down a 6 foot table and hope to have the quarter roll between the tines of an upside down fork.  We had a few attempt the feat with only a minute on the clock each.  The last guy tried and got one quarter in the fork.  He won himself a gift card for pizza.

Following the game we watched a video about a bad dating relationship from  A young lady shared her story about being involved in an unhealthy relationship and the affect it had on her as a follower of Christ.

After the video we divided up the middle and high school groups.   Ramon taught the middle school students, and I hear he did a fantastic job, and I had the high school students.  Our lesson last night was about dating relationships.  You know dating is not found in the Bible.  So we took off from there and even gave the students some tips on "how to break up". 

The POD groups took giant post it notes and each group wrote the advantages of dating on one side of the post it note and the disadvantages on the other side.  For every group the disadvantages outweighed the advantages and as a youth group over all the disadvantages list was way longer than the advantages.

During Hang Time we had corn dogs and hot dogs, pretzels and our famous red kool aid.  Somehow I ended up making about ten iced coffees before the night was over.  Looks like iced coffee is going to have to go up on the menu whenever we put up a menu.

This next Sunday we talk about our relationship with the church.  Looking forward to it.

The picture is our new The Loft logo that we placed on the wall last week and some of our fantastic students modeling beneath the sticker.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Last Night at Contagious

We had an awesome time at Contagious Youth last night up in The Loft.
As usual the youth ministry team gathered at 5:30 and ran over our game plan and prayed.
As students arrived they immediately hit the ping pong table, foosball table and sat around on the sofas or at the coffee bar talking.  It's great to see fellowship happening among the students and adults.

We started off the evening with soda can friends game.  A fun game where one student was on the floor with a soda can on their forehead and their team mate had to stand and put their forehead on the other end of the can and then stand up without dropping the can and no using their hands or anything else to keep the can between their foreheads.  We had 3 teams compete and a team of two girls did won the game in 20 seconds and got to take home two board games.

Then we split up and Ramon and the middle school team took the middle school students with them and I stayed and taught the high school students.  Our lesson each week is the same for both groups just tweaked for their age group.  Last night we continued our series on Relationships and talked about our relationship with authority.  Using scripture we covered, parents, teachers, government, elders and pastors.  The students then broke in to their PODz and discussed the lesson and talked about applying it to their lives this week.

Following our Bible study time we had Hang Time.  The hit last night was the taco in a bag.  Simply take a bag of fritos, open it, dump in a spoon of taco meat.  We had a table set up with various toppings for their taco in a bag.  It didn't take long for 50 bags and 6 lbs of taco meat and couple pounds of cheese to disappear.  We watched the promo for our upcoming Man Weekend campout. 

The team and students surprised me with a giant birthday cookie and a birthday card.  That was nice and many of the kids wrote nice notes in the card.  Tomorrow I turn the big 46 (4 years from half a century).

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